Monday, 5 October 2015

I found a treasure! Victorian Crazy Quilt.

I found a real treasure while stewarding on Open Doors weekend at Kings Weston two weeks ago. A wonderful Victorian crazy quilt, which was languishing in a dark passageway. It had been mounted in a frame at some time. I squeaked a lot, then rushed off to make sure Norman the owner wasn't going to throw it out! It turns out to have been given to him by a local couple who I'm now trying to contact.

The quilt  is beautifully stitched and has lots of  wonderful stitched clues to its origin. Here it is, with Adrian,  the caretaker, very kindly giving some scale!




 Further investigation revealed clues to its origin. Luckily, I had no problem dating it!
 

 
There is some damage, as it's obviously not been stored well,  but the stitching is wonderful.


 The colours are still quite vibrant in places.


 Alongside all the flowers, birds and insects, there are more wonderful images.

 
A clue! This is the coat of arms of Kendal, in Cumbria 



There are several naval emblems, and anchors, and this seems to be a  British naval Petty Officer's insignia.


 Plus there are  these school emblems,


and  household objects like this kettle.





 
So I have a date, a place, and some information about the family of the creator of this quilt!

I hope to find out where the local people got it from, and I'm going to contact the Quilters Guild, the American Museum and possibly the V&A  to find out how it might be assessed. I also wondered about contacting quilting groups in Keswick , just in case? 

If anyone's got ideas or experience in  historic textiles, or knows someone who has, I'd be so grateful to hear from you.

This was such a thrilling find, and a great piece of social history. x